1st Edition

Systemic Thinking for Public Managers Five Practices for Creating a Vibrant Organization

    160 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    160 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Offering a pathway to vibrant organizations, this book integrates systems thinking, critical thinking, and design thinking, and provides the tools needed to proactively apply them in the social systems where we live and work.

    Systemic thinking—the combination of systems thinking, critical systems thinking, and design thinking - provides a way of addressing the complexity of problems faced by public sector managers. Far too often systemic thinking has been discussed theoretically rather than practically. This book changes that, enabling public sector managers and leaders to connect staff, partners, and stakeholders in the pursuit of thoughtfully designed and responsive service. Clearly written and designed to be put to immediate use on the job, each chapter provides a discussion of one specific practice. Included are guiding principles, a case study, relevant practical tools, and suggestions of for additional practice and reading.

    Using this book, managers of social systems such as public welfare, healthcare, public schools and libraries, housing and community development, and students of public administration will gain a deeper understanding of organizational systems and design, and a new toolkit to fortify their own organizations.

    Chapter 1: Introduction. Chapter 2: Depicting the System. Chapter 3: Evaluating the System. Chapter 4: Collaborating Within and Across Systems. Chapter 5: Developing a Systemic Culture. Chapter 6: Designing a Systemic Future. Chapter 7: Conclusion. 


    Sheila E. Murphy, PhD, has served as a consultant to government, private sector, and nonprofit organizations for 30 years. She served on the faculty of the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University, where she co-designed and instructed the 10-month Certified Public Manager program, serving federal, tribal, state, county, and municipal government professionals.

    Tracey A. Regenold, PhD, works as a public sector management consultant. Her previous experience includes working in nonprofit organizations providing direct service to adults from vulnerable populations and designing instruction for public manager education. Tracey earned her doctoral degree in workforce education from Old Dominion University. She holds a Master of Public Administration from Arizona State University.

    Philip A. Reed, PhD, DTE, is a professor in the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He has served as a teacher, teacher educator, and administrator in secondary, and post-secondary education for over 30 years. His research focuses on curriculum development and implementation in workforce education.